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In-form Braunschweig up for the cup

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In-form Braunschweig up for the cup

Postby FCBayernNews » Sat Jul 30, 2011 1:20 pm

The football-mad town of Braunschweig has been waiting for this day for 26 years: for the first time since relegation from the Bundesliga in 1985, home heroes Eintracht meet Bayern in a competitive fixture. This coming Monday (kick-off 8.30 pm), the club who won promotion back to the second division last season host Munich in the DFB Cup first round.

"This match is a reward for our fans," declared Eintracht director of sport Marc Arnold in the build-up to the sell-out cup clash at the Hamburger Strasse stadium. A total of 23,500 tickets were available for the match, but the club - currently top of Bundesliga 2 after winning both their fixtures so far - could easily have sold twice as many.

The Eintracht loyalists have had their faith tested over the years. Braunschweig won the German championship in 1967, but sank to the murky depths of the second and third tiers in more recent times. The turbulence and turmoil only ended three years ago, when Sebastian Ebel assumed the club presidency, Torsten Lieberknecht became coach, and former pro Arnold took on the sporting administration duties, restoring calm, continuity and success to the Lower Saxony outfit. Promotion back to division two at the end of last season was a just reward for their efforts.

FCB have won the national knockout cup more often than any other team, but Eintracht's blistering start to the new season has not gone unnoticed in Munich. "Obviously, we're taking Braunschweig very seriously. We're not just aiming for honours in the Bundesliga, we want to win the cup too," commented Bayern boss Jupp Heynckes. The players are also aware of a tough task ahead. "We'll have to tackle the job with 100 percent concentration," said Bastian Schweinsteiger.

Birthday gift for Lieberknecht?

Eintracht coach Lieberknecht is not being blinded by the mind games from Munich. "It's a massive ask for us," commented the former Bundesliga star, who has been at Braunschweig since 2003, initially as a player. Lieberknecht will be 38 on Monday, and victory over seemingly invincible Bayern would be the best birthday present of all. "But we're perfectly well aware of who starts as favourites," the coach stated.

He and Arnold have pieced together a balanced team, notable for its hard running and exceptional work-rate. Naturally, the club is on a high after winning their first two second division fixtures. "Obviously, we're very confident at the moment and we're certainly not going to freeze with terror. But I'm sure even mighty Bayern have worked out we're not a bunch of amateurs they can beat just by turning up," defender Matthias Henn told kicker magazine.

And Braunschweig can take some encouragement from the history of the fixture, as they knocked Bayern out of the DFB Cup once in the past. Back on 16 October 1982, the Lower Saxony side won 2-0 at home in the second round. Before that, the Munich giants beat Eintracht twice in the cup, 1-0 in 1965/66, and 3-1 after extra-time in a replay after a 0-0 draw in the first meeting in 1971/72.
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